If cramping is an issue, I'd also recommend a creatine/glutamine/taurine supplement as taurine is added to reduce muscle cramps.
I personally don't think that there's much wrong with taking creatine at any point even if someone is a relatively new lifter (I wouldn't waste my time, though, without at least 6 months of training experience), but I wouldn't bother to use it constantly, rather for a few months on, take a few off and repeat. Comparing it to equipment like a bench shirt or steroids is kind of tough since it isn't an artificial aid such as a shirt/suit and it isn't anywhere NEAR the potency of steroids (though, like testosterone, is naturally produced in the body). I've seen people taking steroids go up 25 lbs. in 8 weeks and have their strength increase by 25-30% as well, but there's no way that creatine can even come close as far as taking your body's potential so far so fast due to its limitations. That, and the unwanted effects of using illegal substances aren't there as well, making it a much safer option as an aid for progress. Yes, it can help some, but for most you'll gain a few lbs. of water and some muscular endurance (which can certainly assist in your workouts in the quest for size and strength), but honestly, it isn't a miracle worker and I don't know anyone whose entire lifting "career" (term used loosely) was drastically changed by it to where it can be credited with the bulk of their progress.
Honestly, I think creatine is rather overhyped, but if it helps, I say go for it since you could certainly do a lot worse.